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NMCB 133 Renovates Timor-Leste Disaster Recovery Center

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110708-01

By Utilitiesman 3rd Class Michal Rak, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 Public Affairs

DILI, Timor Leste (NNS) -- DILI, Timor Leste - Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 Seabees participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Gedung Serba Guna Matahari Terbit (GMT) Disaster Recovery Center in Dili, Timor-Leste, June 24.

The ceremony served as a celebration for the completion of the Pacific Partnership 2011 mission in Timor-Leste.

While in Timor-Leste, the Seabees combined forces with the Timor-Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL) and the International Stabilization Force Australian Sappers to renovate the GMT gymnasium, which will be the only Sphere-certified disaster recovery facility in the country.

The facility is certified by the Sphere Project, which was launched in 1997 by humanitarian non-governmental organizations and the Red Cross and Red Crescent movements. The project is an initiative to define and uphold the standards by which the global community responds to the plight of people affected by disasters, according to the Sphere Project's website.

The joint renovation included placement of new concrete floors, new paint and the total replacement of the non-functioning electrical system. The Seabees also renovated the roof of the building and areas of ceiling that had suffered from water-damage.

Working together on the disaster recovery center gave the teams opportunities to learn from each other. The Seabees were able to learn local construction techniques from the F-FDTL and Australians. Likewise, the F-FDTL got a chance to experience the different technology and expertise that the Seabees brought to the project.

In addition, the Seabees, Australians and F-FDTL gained insights into each other's military cultures and methods of construction, solidifying the future of multilateral cooperation in Timor-Leste.

"It was an enlightening experience to get a chance to work side-by-side with F-FDTL engineers," said Equipment Operator 3rd Class William Jameson.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the vice prime minister of Timor-Leste, the U.S. ambassador to Timor-Leste and the commander of Pacific Partnership 2011 gave inspirational and motivational speeches about the impact of the work that had been done.

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